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Your Bow Sight.

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Bow Walker

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6200 km Away From Home.
I'm speaking about compound bow sights here. Have you set it up correctly? Checked the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd, axis?

if you just can't seem to hit the broad side of a barn door, or are as inconsistent as teenager in a whorehouse - then maybe this bit of advice is for you.

Assume that your bow is vertical and at right angles to the horizontal plane. You will need a good level and a good square to check and/or adjust these axis.

1st axis.
This is the axis that has your sight tilting either into you or away from you. It can either make you shoot low all the time or high all the time, no matter what you do. This axis must be vertical, and at 90 degrees to the horizontal plane.

2nd Axis.
This axis is the one that archers probably spend the most time on setting and is the axis that has the biggest effect on the sight level. The axis runs through the archer’s line of sight and rotates like the hands of a clock when looking straight on at the sight. On level ground, this axis has the most effect on the sight level. If not set properly, it can also have drastic effects on accuracy, especially at longer distances.

2nd axis on your sight is basically making sure the bubble level on your sight reads level when the bow is vertical.

This presumes that your string is vertical when the bow is also vertical. You essentially figure a way to hold your bow vertical (use a bow vise), and then check to see that your bubble level in the sight is also reading vertical.

If not, then adjust the bubble level with the 2nd axis adjustment, to make the bubble level on your sight read level, when the bow and bowstring are vertical.


3rd Axis.
Now we come to the most confusing axis of all. This axis runs from the top to the bottom of the sight. The 3rd axis is often called the hinge or door axis because as viewed from the archer, it moves like a door closing and opening.


Ok, so now we understand what 2nd axis is on your sight. So, what is 3rd axis? Remember your sight ring is on a threaded rod? Well, what if the entire sight ring was mounted on a door hinge? Yup. What if the entire sight ring could swing like a door? You could swing the door towards you or away from you.

Well, let's say we swing the door towards you 45 degrees. The bubble level still reads level, i.e., the threaded rod is still horizontal.

You know what will happen on a steep uphill shot? Even if you aim uphill, and your bow is not tilted left or right, the bubble level will lie to you and force you to tilt your bow.

Try this with a 24-inch level. Hold the level in your hand so that it is still horizontal, but the angle between the level and your arm is 45 degrees, as if you swung a door towards you. Raise your arm towards the ceiling.
The bubble level will not stay in the middle.

Adjust the third axis on your sight is the same as adjust the door swing so that it is 90 degrees.

3rd axis will affect uphill shots (NFAA field rounds) or downhill shots (from a tree stand).

Imagine that your sight ring is a door. If you bump your sight ring into a tree, the sight ring may bend towards you like swinging a door closer to your face. Let's say the sight ring "door" opened towards you 45-degrees. The bubble still reads level when you hold the riser straight up and down.

Now, hang a weighted string from the ceiling. Kneel down on your knees, load an arrow in a safe spot, come to full draw and anchor. Line up the weighted string with the left edge of the riser and your limbs.

Take a look at the bubble.
The riser and limbs are vertical because you are lined up with the weighted string. If the sight ring threaded rod is bent towards you or away from you, the bubble will not read level even though you are not canting the bow.

Adjusting the 3rd axis of a bow restores the sight ring door swing back to 90 degrees, perpendicular to the sight frame. The best way to check is kneeling down on your knees, aiming up at a weighted string hanging from the ceiling.

If your sight has 3rd axis adjustment, then adjust away. If you sight does not have 3rd axis adjustment, you will need to use shims to adjust the entire sight or just the sight ring.

When shooting on level ground, this axis has virtually no effect if the 2nd axis is set correctly. However, when shooting uphill or downhill, this axis is extremely critical and can make or break those angled shots. Many archers stop with their setup once the second axis is set, but failing to properly set the third axis can have a severe effect on accuracy with uphill and downhill shots.

Got all that? Clear as mud?

Great....now go re-sight your bow, and shoot with confidence.


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